As Father’s Day approaches, I am glad for my Dad who loved the Lord and loved his kids, even if he was a bit stiff in showing it. I am now at a stage of life where I enjoy the blessing of being called “Dad” by three wonderful young adults and “Granddad” by six other beautiful younger people (some who pronounce Grandad better than others). I accept it as one of God’s great blessings that I am called that name on this Father’s Day.
My first-born child was a beautiful baby girl who was born in November. I was a Dad! I was delighted and intimated. What a responsibility and this little girl needed her Dad to keep her safe and secure. I took that responsibility seriously! Around Christmas time, my parents bought us airplane tickets to visit them. I am sure they were interested in seeing us—BUT—more interested in seeing the new bundle of joy (her middle name was “Joy”). We got on the flight and she slept much of the trip, the prayer of every parent –even if you are an atheist. As the plane landed and we were waiting to get off, the baby was in her car seat, and I was getting my stuff ready. I was not looking and the car seat fell off the plane seat and our little bundle of joy landed face first. The cries of pain were deafening and this new dad had failed in one of his most crucial fathering responsibilities—keeping his little girl safe and secure. You can tell the scars are still there for me.
As I think about these two “fatherly” words, two Bible passages come to mind. The first passage is Genesis 22. This is a Father’s Day story of the dad whose name means Father—Abraham. He is told to kill his son, Isaac. That does not seem very fatherly. It seems like child abuse at its worst. Abraham obeys and takes his obedient son (I think young Isaac could have stopped his old father) away in secret. When asked by Isaac, Abraham says that God will provide (Gen.22:8). What a life of faith and confidence in their heavenly Father that allowed Abraham and Isaac to submit to his will. Even when Abraham lifted the knife to plunge it into his son (22:10) he trusted in God’s protection and faithfulness. He felt some sense of safety in God’s hand of provision. The heavenly Father did not disappoint. He provided the substitute in a ram on that day and in his Son, Jesus in a later day. That is a Father in whom you can trust even in the most difficult of times. He keeps us Safe. As the song goes— “He will hold me fast…for my Savior loves me so, he will hold me fast.” We are safe in our Father’s care.
The second text that I love on Father’s day is in John 10:28-29. Many of us know this passage. Jesus is encouraging his people as he says he knows his sheep and no one will get them. Jesus uses the word picture of a strong hand and he says no one can pull the child of God out of his hand. That is secure—the strong hand of Jesus. Then he ratchets up the picture by saying that the Father who gave them to him also had them in his hand. That Father’s hand is invincible! You cannot be taken from his hand. That is the ultimate of SECURITY!! Come hell or high water—we are safe and can feel secure in the hand of the FATHER—God.
On this Father’s Day, I invite you all to enjoy God’s gift of fathers. Be a father who makes his family safe and secure. But even if you cannot identify with a good Father—God invites you to a safe and secure relationship with him forever. It does not get any better than that.